Co-Productions have had some good moments and bad one’s pertaining to anime. I loved The Animatrix a lot more than the last two films in the trilogy and Batman: Gotham Knight has some pretty good entries in its anthology. So when word got out about there being a Co-Production between BioWare and Funimation, concerning the Mass Effect franchise, I was certainly stoked. While I’ve only played the second game, what I’ve gotten out of one of the largest video game franchises in recent memory has been an incredible experience and one makes me want to know a lot more about this universe. Thus, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost has been delivered unto me to satiate both the gamer and anime fan within myself, but does it deliver the goods or fail in its attempts.
The 84 minute feature is a prequel to the third Mass Effect game, that follows Lt. James Vega, as he embarks on a mission to protect a colony on the planet of Fehl Prime. Along with his squad, Vega must square off with Blood Pack Mercenaries and attempt to bring peace to the colony. Flash forward two years later, we see Vega and his squad helping the colonists around the planet and making sure things move smoothly. Suddenly, the Collectors show up and start snatching up the colonists, leaving Vega and his crew to figure out what is going on and how to stop the collectors.
The film is very straight forward and presents a solid entry into the Mass Effect universe. Henry Gilroy’s script presents a solid balance of action, drama and intrigue to make the film enjoyable. The dub cast does a pretty good job and shows off the usual talents of voice actors Monica Rial, Eric Vale, Vic Mignogna and plenty of other voice actors that Funimation keeps in their usual stable. If there was one thing that I had to completely trash Paragon Lost, it is the very thing that makes this product what it is, the animation. It shames me to see the quality of work contained in this film and to know that Production I.G. was involved in the process of creating this. The Mass Effect games contain all kinds of details, from the intricacies of all the suits worn by people to the uniqueness of an entire alien race. All of this is completely missing from Paragon Lost and replaces it with very dull looking characters and a majority of subpar animation.
While I certainly didn’t have a bad time watching this film, I certainly expected a bit more from Paragon Lost. With its solid story and characters but terrible animation, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is most certainly a mixed bag, that should please gamers, but not anime fans by a long shot.